Not Moreno Valley, Redlands. RUSD pays $15.7M to eight former students to settle threes sex abuse lawsuits

Wow!  This is the payout to eight former students. Fortunately for Redlands Unified School District, their insurance carrier will cover most of the costs.

Here's an excerpt from the story.  

The Redlands Unified School District has agreed to settle three sex abuse lawsuits involving eight former students for $15.7 million, the attorney for the plaintiffs said Monday.

The settlement marks perhaps the largest award in sex abuse litigation in the history of the school district, which encompasses 147 square miles and has a student enrollment of more than 21,000 at its six elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, and one alternative high school. The district serves the communities of Redlands, Loma Linda, Mentone, Forest Falls, and portions of San Bernardino and Highland, according to its website.

Former Redlands High School math teacher and golf coach, Kevin Patrick Kirkland. 
All the plaintiffs in the litigation are former Redlands High School students. Six of them are the victims, or claim to have been the victims, of former special-education teacher and golf coach Kevin Patrick Kirkland, one alleges to be the victim of former English teacher Brian Townsley, and another alleges she was molested by former theater technical director Daniel Bachman.

One of Kirkland’s victims will receive more than $7 million, believed to be a record settlement for a single victim in a sex abuse lawsuit against a school district in the state, said attorney Morgan Stewart of the Irvine law firm Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, which represented the plaintiffs in the litigation.

The school district’s insurance carrier will cover the lion’s share of the settlement, and the district will pay $383,330, Redlands Unified School District officials say.

Morgan Stewart, an attorney representing the alleged victims of Kevin Kirkland, speaks outside San Bernardino Superior Court, about lawsuits against the Redlands Unified School District for its “mishandling” of reports of sexual misconduct against the former Redlands High School teacher in San Bernardino. September 19, 2017. 

Stewart’s law firm also represented one of the victims of former Citrus Valley High School English teacher and soccer coach Laura Whitehurst, who bore the child of the then-student in June 2013. In August 2016 — three months after Kirkland’s arrest — the school district settled with Whitehurst’s victim for $6 million.

Whitehurst was convicted in July 2013 for sexually abusing three students and was sentenced to one year in jail. She was released from custody after serving six months.

Stewart alleges the school district has engaged in a culture of covering up sex abuse for more than a decade, failing to alert proper authorities to reported incidents of suspected sex abuse or inappropriate conduct by teachers and encouraging reporting students not to go to the police.

“The size of this settlement reflects the immense harm done to our clients and the continuing failure of the Redlands Unified School District to protect students from sexual predators,” Stewart said in a statement. He has called on the state and federal government to investigate the school district.

Debra CraigComment